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The Complete Guide to Water Softener Installation

The Complete Guide to Water Softener Installation

Are you considering installing a water softener in your home or business?  Think you have what it takes to do the job yourself?  Water softener installation can be a little tricky, but for those of you who are least minimally mechanically inclined and possess at least a basic knowledge of plumbing systems it can usually be handled fairly easily without outside or professional help.  In this article we will take you through the various steps for installing a water softener in your home or place of business, although you will need to rely further on the installation instructions that came with your particular unit.

Before you begin, you’ll definitely want to make sure that the electricity to your electric water heater is turned off.  This is an easy step, but a very important one.  Once that’s competed, you’re ready to begin.

1.  Locating a Spot for Your Water Softener

Where your water softener is to be located is not a decision to take lightly.  Choose a flat, dry, protected area that is not susceptible to freezing.  Make sure that the tank is easily accessible, as this is something you will have to periodically refill.  Make sure the softener does not block access to doors or windows and is not in a spot where it can be banged into or damaged easily.

2.  The Power Source

To power your new water softener you will need a standard 3-pring grounded outlet which ideally is located no more than 10 feet from the unit.  (10 feet is the standard cord length for most water softeners).  If absolutely necessary, the cord can be spliced and up to 40 more feet can be added to reach your outlet.  50 feet however, is the maximum recommended length for any water softener power cord.

3.  Drain Location

Your water softener will drain during the backwash cycles and this water needs a place to go.  Experts recommend that your drain be no further than 20 feet from the unit itself and can be made using either flexible plastic hosing or more rigid materials such as PVC piping.

4.  Installing the Bypass Valve

At this point you’re ready to install the bypass valve to the control head.  Make certain that the arrows on the bypass valve are lined up and you use only the hardware included with your unit in the installation.

5.  Connect Water Lines to Softener

The next step is to connect the inlet water lines to the water softener.  Most units will come with the required hardware for this process, including two female nuts and the rubber washers.  Make sure to follow the included directions very carefully when undertaking this step of the process.

6.  Connecting the Brine Tank

Connect the water softener control valve to the brine tank using the plastic brine tube included with your unit.  This tube will be bi-directional, used both for drawing brine into the water solution during regeneration, and refilling the brine tank with more water in preparation of the next cycle.

7.  Brine Tank Overflow Drain

The brine tank overflow valve will need to be connected to an outside drain source you create.  This can usually be accomplished by using 5/8 “plastic tubing.  Make sure the drain line is higher than the backwash drain line.

8.  Fill the Brine Tank

Using a bucket or hose, fill the brine tank with approximately 4 gallons of water.  If this measurement is anywhere between 3 and 5 gallons you should have no problem.

9.  Program Your New Softener

Using the included instructions, program your water softener as directed.  If these programming instructions were not included with your unit you can usually find help for this step online.

Once all of these steps have been finished, you are ready to put your new water softener into service.  With the main water supply off, place the control valve into the backwash position, following the directions included with your manual.  You may have to use a flathead screwdriver to optimally line up the backwash control valve.

Now just sit back and enjoy your new water softener.

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